Turkcell Super League – The Diyarbakirspor Dillema

The Turkish Football Federation will have a decision to make this week.  As discussed in the Turkish Football Weekly podcast, Diyarbakirspor had a match abandoned in the week before last against Bursaspor.  Now with that having already been discussed, what happened this week would be even more shocking.  Diyarbakirspor had already had one match abandoned, and now, last week, another match involving the club was abandoned, this time against Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor.

For two consecutive weeks, Turkish football has seen scenes of ugly hooliganism that would make old school English hooligans jealous.  This past week, a group of Diyarbakirspor fans stormed the field at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium during the match in question in the 87th minute, after Istanbul Büyükşehir Belediyespor’s Herve Tum scored off a header to put the home side up 1-0.  Another group of fans threw stones towards the pitch.  The IBB players, some Diyarbakirspor players, and the match officials raced to the locker room in order to avoid the charge of fans.  Security intervened and manhandled the fans and Diyarbakirspor officials who were at the match urged them to calm down.  The referee would then call off the match.  Diyarbakirspor chairman Çetin Sümer said that the storming of the field was not due to the real fans of the club, but by provocateurs.  He expressed his suspicion that an ulterior motive was present when the fans went onto the pitch.

What was funny about the match was that before the goal, the match seemed to go smoothly.  IBB midfield Serhat Gulpinar said that the Diyarbakirspor supporters applauded him and the other players before the match had started.  He also called for measures to be taken so that this sort of thing doesn’t happen again.

Perhaps this is just frustration by the Diyarbakirspor fans.  They, and the club, have had to endure being seen as associated with the PKK separatist group, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union.  Although it should be mentioned that it is known in some circles that the PKK do not like Diyarbakirspor, as they see it as a project devised by Turkey.  The association was evident during their first time that Diyarbakirspor and Bursaspor met back in September.  While Bursaspor did get a fine of 100,000 Turkish Liras, it seemed as though it wasn’t enough of a punishment in the eyes of Diyarbakirspor fans.  Diyarbakirspor even considered withdrawing from the league at that point in time due to the abuse.  The club did stay on though, but now it seems that they might be kicked out of the Super League.

Turkish Football Federation regulations state that should a team lose two games by default, that club would automatically be demoted to a lower division.  With what had happened to Diyarbakirspor against Bursaspor in Diyarbakir, and with the most current situation in Istanbul, it is likely that both games will be handed to their opponents by default.  The TFF, as of this publication, is still debating on whether to give the wins to Bursaspor and IBB by default.  Should that happen, Diyarbakirspor is automatically relegated, joining Ankaraspor with that dubious distinction this season.

These events of fan violence should never be tolerated by the Turkish Football Federation.  With the TFF bidding to host Euro 2016, these events over the past two weeks puts a stain on the face of Turkish football.  The TFF and authorities should take immediate action should any fans resort to violence in the stands or, God forbid, if they storm the pitch.  This should be done to deter any future incidents that could bring the sport in Turkey into disrepute.  It’s time for the TFF to take a stand on these sorts of incidents and make sure it doesn’t bring down the reputation of the sport in Turkey.  Security should be beefed up in stadiums so that these sorts of things are avoided.  These incidents should never be welcome in Turkey, or anywhere else for that matter.  Hopefully, the TFF will take action in order to avoid these sorts of incidents.

Quick update on the top five in the standings after week 25 of the Turkcell Super League: Galatasaray is in first place with 53 points, Bursaspor is in second place with 52 points, Beşiktaş is in third with 51 points, Fenerbahçe is in fourth with 49 points, and Trabzonspor is in fifth with 43 points.  Kayserispor also has 43 points, but Trabzonspor has the better goal difference with +17, compared to a +16 for Kayserispor.